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Daniel in the lion’s den; Daniel counts 70 years since he was exiled and prays for Israel’s restoration. Cyrus allows the Israelite exiles to return: Daniel 6, 9; 2 Chronicles 36:22–23

Daniel had counted the years since his exile, and he realised that 70 years had passed. Did he think Israel had deserved exile? Yes would have to be the answer. Daniel asked God for Israel’s restoration on one basis: in a world of idols and competing false gods, the living God should keep His own promises for the sake of His own name:

Daniel 9:17-19 O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.
O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.

Daniel would have been a very old man when this happened: he was close to 90 years old. Here’s a 19th-century view of how this could scene have looked:

Daniel's Prayer (1865) by Sir Edward Poynter, from illustrations for Dalziel's Bible Gallery, in the Tate

Daniel’s Prayer (1865) by Sir Edward Poynter, from illustrations for Dalziel’s Bible Gallery, in the Tate